With Fire & Sword is a version of the game Mount & Blade, the game that claims to be a mix of a role play game and a wargame. The most obvious changes are the replacement of crossbows with firearms, a new map and the 16th/17th century setting. This is the time that warfare gradually changed from melee based to firearm based.
(A side note: the setting actually mixes aspects of the 16 century setting with that of the 17th century. The halbediers belong more to the former century and the musketeers/cavalry more to the latter.)
There some other changes. There seem to be more quests and the recruitment system has been overhauled. However, at the core the game is the same and as such has the same problems as the old game, such as a rudimentary battlefield mechanism, a nonexistent storyline, a simplistic dialogue tree, superficial boring personalities and tedious repetitive battles of which there are way too many. And these problems are now compounded by the introduction of firearms.
With muskets you can kill an adversary from the other side of the map and what is more.. he can do the same. In fact the ai is actually better at shooting because it isn't bothered by the fact that from a distance avatars are so small that you can't make them out right.
My first half hour was spend being shot to pieces. The only way to escape that fate is by moving in an unpredictable pattern so the enemy can't take aim properly. In the meantime you either have to try and kill them with your own firearm(while moving about in a random way!) or with your sidearm. Battles turn therefore into tedious hit and run activities in which standing still is an invite to be killed on the spot.
The milita that you can recruit at the start is woefully inept to deal with anything better than looters and once you have enough of them to actually have a chance to win a fight, your army is so slow that you can't catch deserters, brigands and such because they are faster than you. So you either have to fight enemies who are superior to your inept troops.. or hope to corner a band of ruffians,which involves you in chasing them across the map hoping you won't loose sight of them when the night sets in or when they run into a wooded area.
In fact the best thing to do is not to recruit any militia or infantry but to go from town to town to find and hire mercenary cavalry or heroes so you can overtake your enemies or have a chance to runaway from them when they are too strong.
In any event the game seems to promise to become a protracted boring game, like the basic game was, but now you can use firearms and play on a map that represents eastern europe.
The game is neither a good role play game nor a good wargame, because it doesn't implement either aspect well and it amazes me that people actually consider this game to be good.
But I guess tastes differ..